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Young Adult

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

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We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

It's 1982, and the first year best friends Scott and Cath haven't lived across the street from one another. They've graduated high school, and while most of their small town, Cath included, has left for college, Scott stays to work at his father's clothing store, still not sure what he wants to be doing. Their stories are told in the letters they write to one another, desperate to not let their friendship change with the distance. Cath works to find her place at Wake Forest, while Scott struggles, feeling left behind by all his old friends.

This was a sweet, quick book. I like the letter format -- I find it easy to read, and it's interesting to see how the two characters interpret things that happen while they're together, as well as how they explain things that happen when they're apart. While it had serious parts, the tone overall was lighthearted, as the two try to cheer each other up throughout the year.

Number of Pages: 
299

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Ruby is a Fireblood, living with the power to create and control fire, but she's grown up in a land ruled by Frostbloods, whose power lies in ice. Ruby practices her power and control in secret in her small mountain village until soldiers come searching for her and destroy her home in the process. She spends months stuck in prison, threatened by the guards, only to be broken out by people she has no reason to trust. But they also don't totally trust her, and will only tell her that they need her to complete their plan in overthrowing the Frostblood king.

Number of Pages: 
376

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

James Watson is a descendant of the great John Watson, partner to Sherlock Holmes and recorder of all their mysteries. But really, Jamie is just a teenage boy, sent from London to attend a boarding school in Connecticut on a rugby scholarship. Jamie's only hope is that he can meet Charlotte Holmes, the many times great granddaughter of his ancestor's counterpart. His mother warned him that all Holmes are trouble, and to stay away, but Jamie can't help wondering about the mysterious Charlotte. When Jamie awkwardly introduces himself and then fights another boy over something said about Charlotte, their relationship is off to a rocky start. Unfortunately, the boy turns up dead, and suspicion immediately falls on the pair. Charlotte is determined to clear their names, and Jamie, still fascinated, is dragged along in Charlotte's investigation.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fun, light-hearted YA mystery. It had the right amount of drama to drag me in, but not so much to be a thriller, or ridiculous. The two main characters are very fully developed, neither being shown as entirely flawless.

Number of Pages: 
321

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

Wires and Nerve is a continuation of Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series (which begins with the YA novel Cinder). Unlike the books in the original series, Wires and Nerve is written as a graphic novel with art done by Doug Holgate, and follows a minor character after the original series' end. Iko, Cinder's android friend, suddenly feels unneeded with her friends' new positions in life, and must find her own. Determined to still be a help to Cinder, Iko travels back to Earth to fight the wolf hybrids that went into hiding after the fall of their leader. The beasts are too strong, and the job is too dangerous for any human, but here Iko knows exactly what to do. Unfortunately, even Iko isn't indestructible.

Number of Pages: 
238

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Lady Catherine wants nothing more than to open a baking shop with one of her maids and be declared the best baker in all of Hearts. Her parents consider it an inappropriate hobby for a lady, but since the king loves her sweets so much, they put up with it. Unfortunately for her, the king decides he must be in love with her and that she would make a perfect queen. Not only does this derail Cath's plans, but she's been dreaming about another young man and aspects from her dreams keep popping up in her bedroom in the mornings. When the young man shows up in real life -- the new Joker to her smitten king, Cath knows she cannot allow herself to fall in love, but is constantly drawn to the mysterious man.

Heartless is a loose prequel to Alice in Wonderland - or more, it takes place in that world, slightly beforehand, without the same plot or all the same characters. The story is more love story than Meyer's other retellings (The Lunar Chronicles, beginning with the book Cinder). I loved the way Meyer placed Lewis Carroll quotes in the dialogue between characters, and puts in more subtle references to the original story than a similar plot or all the same characters. The plot remained more of a mystery than many retellings of fairy tales.  I don't know the Alice books that well, so it made me want to reread the originals to catch all the little bits and pieces.

Number of Pages: 
453

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel José Older

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel José Older

Things between Tee and Izzy have been becoming strained ever since Sierra initiated her friends into shadowshaping. Izzy's hip hop career is really starting to take off, and Tee's taking the reins of the Bed-Stuy Searchlight, which is currently based in a creepy church basement. To complicate matters, the ghost of a mysterious girl starts revealing herself just to Tee, and then a local teen baseball star goes missing. Izzy needs Tee to help the search party, and Tee needs Izzy to help her understand this haunting. Will they be able to salvage what's left of their relationship in time to get to the bottom of the abduction?

Ghost Girl in the Corner is a brand new (just released yesterday!) novella, set between the end of Shadowshaper and Shadowhouse Fall (due out next fall). I love, love, love the magical side of Brooklyn Daniel José Older has introduced, and this book satisfies the wait between his YA Shadowshaper series and his Bone Street Rumba trilogy for adults. His pacing is perfect for this short fiction, with lovable, flawed characters; on-point social commentary; and bad guys as bad as ever. It is such a joy to dip back into this world...I can't wait to return!

Number of Pages: 
109

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything is a romantic adventure that mostly happens within Madeleine's home. She is a prisoner to her disease, SCID. And until an attractive and mysterious boy moves in next door, she is happy with her routine. She studies via Skype. She has game nights with her Mom. (Okay...she is pretty sheltered here.) But meeting Olly changes her whole internal and external landscape.

For a book about an ill teenager, I thought it was going to be pretty formulaic, but Yoon is funny and there were bits of dialogue that made me laugh out loud. And her husband drew the illustrations which are fun and peppered throughout the novel. So even though I was enjoying this read, I was writing it off as pretty typical until she through a much appreciated twist at the end and gained my respect for her story and for this book. And guess what? She has a new one out now!

Number of Pages: 
310

Nemesis by Anna Banks

Nemesis by Anna Banks

Princess Magar Sepora is the last person in the five kingdoms with the ability to create a magical glowing element with her own body. In her home, her father values her only for this ability -- it is what their country relies upon for trade, and what they will need in the war he's starting with their long time rival country. But Sepora is done with this -- she will not finance a war, and sees no option but to fake her own death and go into hiding in the country her father hopes to destroy. Here she can blend in with the descendants of slaves that were stolen from her own home generations before. Here she can keep her secret and all the kingdoms must learn to get by without the magical element she created for so long.

Tarik must begin his rule of the neighboring country after his father dies of an illness that's sweeping the city. People are dying quickly, and Tarik knows that have only an uneasy peace with the other kingdoms. His advisors encourage him to stay with tradition and rule the way his father did. Tarik knows that this isn't the best way, and that things must change.

Nemesis is told in chapters alternating between Tarik and Sepora's viewpoints. They start out separate, though, obviously, the two stories merge. The general plot and the romance are fairly predictable, but the world Banks' creates is new and exciting. Sepora and Tarik are both strong, smart characters, and though certain parts are no surprise, it's still fun to read how the characters get to each point, and the discoveries they make in their world along the way.

Number of Pages: 
359

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Henrietta Howel feels fire in her fingers whenever she's especially upset. But she knows in her home that magicians are evil, and she must work to control the fire before anyone can discover her secret. When a sorcerer comes to check the girls where Henrietta teaches for a power with fire, she worries that she'll be dragged away from her home. And she is -- but not to be punished, to be taught sorcery, as the only female sorcerer in recent times. Thrown into this boys' club and expected to learn all the skills in only a fraction of the time, Henrietta must navigate a new society as well as control and use her newly discovered powers. The sorcerers are only willing to tolerate Henrietta because they believe she fulfills a prophecy. Henrietta herself is not quite so sure.

Number of Pages: 
407

Croak by Gina Damico

Croak by Gina Damico

Croak was the selection for the YA2 book club's horror month in October. It tells the story of a girl with unexplained bursts of violent behavior who is sent to live with her uncle for the summer. It turns out he is a Grim Reaper and she is the newest apprentice in the strange town of Croak which bridges this life with the afterlife. Lex has a hard time leaving her parents and twin sister behind but once she is in Croak she quickly makes friends and fits in like never before. She finds she is good at guiding people towards their deaths and even finds a love interest. Things get complicated when some mysterious deaths pop up that point to a reaper gone rogue and Lex becomes determined to stop the killer. Things get darkly serious at the end of the book which felt a bit contrived to me after what was mostly a fun and humorous teen story. I'm not sure if I'll pick up the sequel or not but I really enjoyed the characters and the magical world in the early parts of this book.

Number of Pages: 
311